RNA editing in the plastids and mitochondria of higher plants involves C to U conversion of specific nucleotides in the mRNA. This leads to the synthesis of proteins that are different from those predicted by the DNA sequence. Editing appears to have arisen at about the same time in both plastids and mitochondria, suggesting a common evolutionary origin. The problem we address here is whether or not there has been co-evolution of the editing systems in the two organelles. Our test system was editing of the Arabidopsis thaliana mRNAs for ndhB and nad2, and for ndhD and nad4, which encode homologous subunits of the plastid and mitochondrial NAD(P)H dehydrogenases, respectively. The editing sites in the Arabidopsis nad2 and nad4 mRNAs have previously been determined and we report here 19 editing sites in eight mRNAs in Arabidopsis plastids. Out of these, eight sites are localized in the ndhB mRNA. In its mitochondrial counterpart, nad2, 31 editing sites are present, none of which are shared with the ndhB gene. The Arabidopsis ndhD mRNA is edited at four positions, only one of which is shared by its mitochondrial homologue, nad4, which contains 32 editing sites. These findings suggest that, although editing in the two organelles may have derived from a single system, there is no significant conservation of editing sites in cognate mRNAs in plastids and mitochondria.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arabidopsis thaliana
- RNA editing